“Wonder Woman” Isn’t Bad. It’s Boring.

This by-the-numbers, visually dull movie doesn’t deserve the praise it received.

3 min readOct 13, 2017

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Ninety-two percent of reviewers, according to Rotten Tomatoes, liked Wonder Woman — which just shows the limits of the site’s methodology. “Like” is such a milquetoast evaluation. A shrug of “Yeah, I thought it was decent enough” counts equally with “This was a genre defining cinematic breakthrough.” Lukewarm is indistinguishable from ecstasy.

After watching Wonder Woman, I have to think its 92% is of the lukewarm variety. It’s not a bad film, but it’s not a good one, either. And its not-badness is perhaps inflated by the fact that it follows on two much less critically liked DC films.

Call it the Sigh of Relief method of movie reviewing. When expectations are low, or at least worry high, a movie that’s not bad gets reviewed as if it’s really good, because it allayed the fears of reviewers. After Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, expectations were low. (Though the latter film received far more negativity than it deserved.)

Still, Wonder Woman’s sigh of relief is earned. Nothing stands out as aggressively bad, and there are quite a few things to like. Wonder Woman herself is super charismatic. Gal Gadot delivers an effortless performance. She’s not asked to do much, but she plays the role with enormous charisma. Godot is a far better Wonder Woman than Ben Affleck is Batman or Henry Cavill is Superman. (I say this as someone relatively unfamiliar with the source material, so it’s possible she misses in that regard, but within the context of the DC movies, she works well.)

Yet, beyond Gadot’s character, Wonder Woman feels entirely disposable. I liked that the movie was self-contained, instead of taking the Marvel strategy of every movie just being a cold open for the next, but story’s thin, the villains remarkably boring, and, most tragically for a DC movie, the visuals dull.

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Aaron Ross Powell

Host of the ReImagining Liberty podcast. Writer and political ethicist. Former think tank scholar.